The Cribs, Factory Floor, Wolf Alice
The Cribs – ‘Leather Jacket Love Song’
This tune is something of a harbinger of doom, born as it was from The Cribs’ final and pretty average (the band’s own thoughts) recording sessions with Johnny Marr that probably sowed the seeds for the ex-Smiths man to leave the band in April 2011. Chances are no-one outside the trio will ever know if most of the songs really were as iffy as the Jarmans have hinted. But ‘Leather Jacket Love Song’ – resurrected from the sessions to help promote the compilation album ‘Payola’ coming out in February to celebrate the band’s 10th anniversary – certainly isn’t. “I always think there’s two sides of our band, a punk-rock side and something more introverted,” Ryan Jarman explained recently, picking out this then-unreleased song as his favourite Cribs tune of all time. Why? “Because it was done really quickly and written off the cuff. In terms of the punk-rock side of us I feel like this is the song that really nailed it.” And it really does nail it, being as much of a spit’n’rattle punk blast as ‘Hey Scenesters!’ and ‘Mirror Kissers’, and further proof of the band’s unique ability to pump out perfect indie-punk nuggets with ease. Let’s hope that post-‘Payola’ they continue to do so.
Palma Violets – ‘Step Up (For The Cool Cats)’
The male Shangri-Las? Not quite. But Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound lives large on this incendiary track by everyone’s new favourite lads from Lambeth. You might get similar results if The Horrors spent more time rolling around English pastel-coloured fields in the sunshine. Very cool indeed.
Luls – ‘Never Let It Go’
Bored of January? LULS are ready to swoop in and shake out those cobwebs with their second single. “Take a look at my heart, take a look at my soul,” they command over anthemic ambitions and a gloomy, darker side. Despite the name, the band aren’t funny, but they’re definitely keeping me entertained.
Factory Floor – ‘Fall Back’
The good ship Factory Floor is steaming over the horizon once more, this time with a long-awaited debut album on board. ‘Fall Back’ is our first taste of said LP and retains all of the relentless, punishing qualities that made the band so challenging and exciting in the first place, while continuing their unlikely crossover into dancier waters.
Drenge – ‘Bloodsports’
Get used to the name Drenge (even if the word itself sounds like an Urban Dictionary sex craze – “OMG, did you drenge?!”) because this Sheffield duo deserve to have a big 2013. Their first proper single, ‘Bloodsports’, has grimey guitars, will make you dance and is the sound of a band saying: “We KNOW we’re good.”
Suede – ‘Barriers’
Line one of the first Suede song in a decade: “Aniseed kisses and lipstick traces“. Line two: “Lemonade sipped in Belgian rooms“. With a metaphorical smack of the arse and (weirdly) a terrace chant chorus, ‘Barriers’ has Brett and co in rampant mood: confident, cocky and not half bad.
Atoms For Peace – ‘Judge, Jury And Executioner’
Being dramatic for a moment, I’d probably be quite happy for this to be the final song I hear before facing an executioner. Why? Because of it’s brittle, mechanistic handclap beats, it’s eerie, paranoid lyrics and Thom Yorke’s ghostly coos blowing apart a key change so beautiful it triggers goosebumps and dopamine.
Wolf Alice – ‘Fluffy’
When Wolf Alice played in London recently, every band and their dog rocked up to see them. I’m crushing hard as well after ‘Fluffy’ – a slice of pissed-off slacker-rock punctured by frontwoman Ellie’s Elastica nonchalance. “I’m not looking for no love affair,” she sings. “I’d sell you my soul just to get me somewhere“.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – ‘So Good At Being In Trouble’
More loveliness from the trio of US/NZ weirdos who make music so gently psychedelic and lo-fi you don’t really notice it’s psychedelic and lo-fi until you read something telling you it’s psychedelic and lo-fi. But it totally is. It’s also brilliant, in a soft and kind and ‘oh look, no-one noticed’-kind of way.
Deap Vally – ‘Lies’
The fact that Haim’s ‘music-for-straights’ is getting so much attention while Deap Vally are making EXACTLY the sort of dirty music we need right now says it all about the world’s rubbish taste in music. No matter. This is another great, great rock’n’roll single, simple as that.